Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva Syrian Migrants Not Refugees


The Obama Administration continues to work towards reaching its goal of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees before the end of the fiscal year, but a top U.N official said last week that most of those fleeing Syria are not refugees at all. Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, said most Syrians are fleeing to pursue educational opportunities.

“The number one reason why people leave Syria is not the bombs or the food or the cold, it’s because they want to find educational opportunities for their children,” Møller said in a recent Huffington Post interview. This classifies many of the Syrians as economic migrants searching for better opportunities rather than refugees.

Møller explained that a refugee is, “somebody who asked for asylum because he or she flees persecution, war, and other horrible things, and falls under the 1951 convention. Refugees are a particular group of people that in law have the right to protection of a certain kind.” 

“To put it very bluntly, every refugee is a migrant. Not every migrant is a refugee,” he said.

When a migrant enters the U.S. as a refugee they are immediately granted lawful permanent residence and access to all federal benefits including food stamps, healthcare, and cash assistance compared to the five years or more for other legal immigrants.

Pres. Obama has said he wants to increase the current refugee cap from 70,000 to 85,000 this year, including at least 10,000 from Syria. The Obama administration has shortened the Syrian refugee screening process from 18-24 months to just 3 months in order to reach the 10,000 goal. Last year FBI Director, James Comey, expressed concern that the U.S. does not have the ability to thoroughly screen the Syrian refugees for terrorist ties even through the lengthy 18-24-month process.

Read more on this story at Breitbart.com.

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Updated: Tue, May 31st 2016 @ 2:00pm EDT